You must have heard the phrase 'Leaders are readers.' Well, here is an updated version of it 'Successful businesses are run by readers.'
Reading goes a long way to inform our decisions in the positions we occupy. In the pages of every book are lessons learnt over the years from mistakes and steps we don't have to take and spend years recovering from. And we must consider this in terms of our business because one seemingly simple decision could set the sequence for the doors of that business closing in a few weeks, months or years later.
But I don't like reading!
Well, running a business is not a leisure break. It is not an escape from the demands of life. Everyone has to pay their dues. Running a business, a successful business is a train of deliberate efforts at self productivity and work effectiveness.
From starting in your garage to becoming the CEO of a multinational are pages of books, magazines, newspapers, journals, waiting to be read. They contain essentials, necessary for your growth as a business owner and your business itself.
This is not to say that reading is the ultimate factor in building a business. But it remains an important factor. One without which growth is nearly impossible. Now let's take a look at five areas reading makes you better at business.
Ideas and Innovations: to stay afloat in business, you cannot keep doing things the same way and remain at the top of the chart unchallenged -that is if you ever make it to the top. You must consider new ways of doing things, introduce more alternatives and new products to expand your customer base and build customer loyalty.
You can get great ideas from reading -ideas on new products, ideas on building better versions of existing products. It could be a problem identified in the book that helps you see this need and drives you to address it.
Possibilities: one of the most beautiful things about written words is how they can give life to any and everything. Reading opens your mind to possibilities. It helps you think out of the box of impossibility. Your mind, in the same fashion, begins to give life to everything. It is right that this comes after innovations because of how dependent it is on our minds seeing possibilities.
Reading opens out a whole new world before you, it engages your mind, it challenges your will. There is no limit to what a book can expose you to, there is no feeling or passion that reading can not stir. It is good that you make use of this to your business's advantage.
Emerging Trends: you should be up to date on economic trends so that you can not only take advantage of them for your business but also so that you will operate within the space they allow. Blindly doing business can result in a great loss of investment - capital investment and time investment. Reading about consumer psychology and market trends can help you identify emerging demands so you can develop a product that addresses them.
Management: unless you want your business to remain as a small business involving just you and external partners, management is something you should highly consider. As your business grows, so does your responsibility to manage. And there's managing your expanding client base. In managing people, money, structure, products, clients, it is easy to get lost and not see what's beyond the high walls of your business. And as trends are emerging so are people evolving. Books on management can lead you from being an introverted software developer to an effective manager.
Foresight: though this has been implied in earlier points, it is necessary to highlight this. Any business that will stand the test of time has to be futuristic in its approach to the market and its plan for the market. The trend of experience and lesson you will encounter in books largely emphasise foresight and help you to commit it to mind in doing business.
How to build a good reading habit
Reading is a cognitive activity and for most of us, there is a natural tendency to resist sitting down to read. Especially long and seemingly boring business books. It takes discipline. Here are a few things you can do to build a good reading habit:
- Have a reading list
- Set a minimum number of pages to read per day
- Have reading partners
- Try audiobooks and podcasts
- Have a set reading time
- Buy at least 1 book monthly
Even with these, you have to be intentional and keep in mind the advantages it holds for you and your business. It is pretty easy to go back on any of these things. But when you keep to them, it becomes easier each passing day.
Several books have been written on business, management, planning, and personal development. A search on the internet will connect you with highly recommended books that have proven to be helpful to other business people. However, your reading should not be limited to these books only. Taking time to read fictional literature once in a while helps you relax and engage your creative side.